You know how you are cleaning out a drawer and you find duplicates of a tool that you use every day without thought? Why I had three can openers in my kitchen tools was a mystery but it set me to thinking. When the wee genius was even invented, I mean, it is so simple but does such a specific job. Generally, things that only do one job get relegated to the junk pile. And now that I was pondering pointless things, I started to wonder: who even invented the tin can?
That's when I found out that February is National Canned Food Month. Right on trend again with my weird queries.
So, I figured it was time to drill down a bit and silently thank the person who lets me get to my favorite fruit, peaches, even in the dead of Feb. It turns out that I have none other than Napoleon to thank. He was the man who commissioned the contest to find a better way to get preserved foods to the field in unbreakable packaging. It also turns out that it took another 100 plus years for someone to invent an ingenious can opener like the three in my drawer. Until that point in the mid 1800s, one had to bayonet open the can and spear the fruit. Not going to happen in my kitchen! Safety first. What would I do without peaches until August? You should know that I do work with the California Cling Peach Board developing recipes but they can't buy my peach love, which started when I was six.
Canned peaches deliver a promising amount of nutrients that are actually enhanced by the canning process. Vitamin A, folate, lycopene and some anti-oxidants are made more bio available by the heating and canning process. But the truly impressive nutrient therein is Vitamin E. A serving of California cling peaches provides 24 per cent of a day's worth.
Vitamin E is a fat soluble anti-inflammatory, anti-aging nutrient that is usually associated with nuts and seeds. And while those little nuggets are great for you, a small handful is all you can eat each day because of their caloric heft. Fruit sources, on the other hand, can be enjoyed without worry and consumed in satisfyingly high amounts. And I will trust a peach faster than I will trust a supplement.
There is even research indicating that the canning process actually enhances the eye protecting nutrients of lutein and zeaxanthan. And we know lycopene benefits from the heat of tomatoes into sauce which is a prostate cancer protector.
This year, I am spending some time at a winter cottage and, on occasion, we are snowed in. I figure that is a lot like fighting the Napoleonic war, I mean, it also requires that well preserved food makes our cozy gourmet table. Some of the other cans that I always have on hand include: evaporated milk for coffee, hot chocolate and smoothies. Spinach and chicken broth for quick soups. Beans for mashing into a topping for nachos. Clams for stirring into pasta (if there is power to boil water.)
Having the right tool for the job is critical especially if the job is a refined palate and high standards of nutrient values. I am certain Napoleon would agree.